History of education in the Indian subcontinent | Wikipedia audio article


The history of education began with teaching
of traditional elements such as Indian religions, Indian mathematics, Indian logic at early
Hindu and Buddhist centres of learning such as ancient Takshashila (in modern-day Pakistan)
and Nalanda (in India) before the common era. Islamic Education became ingrained with the
establishment of the Islamic empires in the Indian subcontinent in the Middle Ages while
the coming of the Europeans later brought western education to colonial India. A series of measures continuing throughout
the early half of the 20th century ultimately laid the foundation of education in the Republic
of India, education in Pakistan and much of South Asia.==Early history==Early education in India commenced under the
supervision of a guru or prabhu. Initially, education was open to all and seen
as one of the methods to achieve Moksha in those days, or enlightenment. As time progressed, due to superiority complexes,
the education was imparted on the basis of caste and the related duties that one had
to perform as a member of a specific caste. The Brahmans learned about scriptures and
religion while the Kshatriya were educated in the various aspects of warfare. The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other
specific vocational courses. The other casteShudras, were more of working
class and they were trained on skills to carry out these jobs. The earliest venues of education in India
were often secluded from the main population. Students were expected to follow strict monastic
guidelines prescribed by the guru and stay away from cities in ashrams. However, as population increased under the
Gupta empire centres of urban learning became increasingly common and Cities such as Varanasi
and the Buddhist centre at Nalanda became increasingly visible.Education in India is
a piece of education traditional form was closely related to religion. Among the Heterodox schools of belief were
the Jain and Buddhist schools. Heterodox Buddhist education was more inclusive
and aside of the monastic orders the Buddhist education centres were urban institutes of
learning such as Taxila and Nalanda where grammar, medicine, philosophy, logic, metaphysics,
arts and crafts etc. were also taught. Early secular Buddhist institutions of higher
learning like Taxila and Nalanda continued to function well into the common era and were
attended by students from China and Central Asia.On the subject of education for the nobility
Joseph Prabhu writes: “Outside the religious framework, kings and princes were educated
in the arts and sciences related to government: politics (danda-nıti), economics (vartta),
philosophy (anvıksiki), and historical traditions (itihasa). Here the authoritative source was Kautilya’s
Arthashastra, often compared to Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince for its worldly outlook and political
scheming.” The Rgveda mentions female poets called brahmavadinis,
specifically Lopamudra and Ghosha. By 800 BCE women such as Gargi and Maitreyi
were mentioned as scholars in the religious Upnishads. Maya, mother of the historic Buddha, was an
educated queen while other women in India contributed to writing of the Pali canon. Out of the composers of the Sangam literature
154 were women. However, the education and society of the
era continued to be dominated by educated male population. .==Early Common Era—High Middle Ages==
Chinese scholars such as Xuanzang and Yi Jing arrived in Indian institutions of learning
to survey Buddhist texts. Yi Jing additionally noted the arrival of
56 scholars from India, Japan, and Korea. However, the Buddhist institutions of learning
were slowly giving way to a resurgent tradition of Brahmanism during that era. Scholars from India also journeyed to China
to translate Buddhist texts. During the 10th century a monk named Dharmadeva
from Nalanda journeyed to China and translated a number of texts. Another centre at Vikramshila maintained close
relations with Tibet. The Buddhist teacher Atisa was the head monk
in Vikramshila before his journey to Tibet.Examples of royal patronage include construction of
buildings under the Rastrakuta dynasty in 945 CE. The institutions arranged for multiple residences
for educators as well as state sponsored education and arrangements for students and scholars. Similar arrangements were made by the Chola
dynasty in 1024 CE, which provided state support to selected students in educational establishments. Temple schools from 12–13th centuries included
the school at the Nataraja temple situated at Chidambaram which employed 20 librarians,
out of whom 8 were copiers of manuscripts and 2 were employed for verification of the
copied manuscripts. The remaining staff conducted other duties,
including preservation and maintained of reference material.Another establishment during this
period is the Uddandapura institute established during the 8th century under the patronage
of the Pala dynasty. The institution developed ties with Tibet
and became a centre of Tantric Buddhism. During the 10–11th centuries the number
of monks reached a thousand, equaling the strength of monks at the sacred Mahabodhi
complex. By the time of the arrival of the Islamic
scholar Al Biruni India already had an established system of science and technology in place. Also by the 12th century, invasions from India’s
northern borders disrupted traditional education systems as foreign armies raided educational
institutes, among other establishments.==Late Middle Ages—Early Modern Era==With the advent of Islam in India the traditional
methods of education increasingly came under Islamic influence. Pre-Mughal rulers such as Qutb-ud-din Aybak
and other Muslim rulers initiated institutions which imparted religious knowledge. Scholars such as Nizamuddin Auliya and Moinuddin
Chishti became prominent educators and established Islamic monasteries. Students from Bukhara and Afghanistan visited
India to study humanities and science.Islamic institution of education in India included
traditional madrassas and maktabs which taught grammar, philosophy, mathematics, and law
influenced by the Greek traditions inherited by Persia and the Middle East before Islam
spread from these regions into India. A feature of this traditional Islamic education
was its emphasis on the connection between science and humanities. Among the centres of education in India was
18th century Delhi was the Madrasa Rahimiya under the supervision of Shah Waliullah, an
educator who favored an approach balancing the Islamic scriptures and science. The course at the Madrasa Rahimiya prescribed
2 books on grammar, 1 book on philosophy, 2 books on logic, 2 books on astronomy and
mathematics, and 5 books on mysticism. Another centre of prominence arose in Lucknow
under Mulla Nizamuddin Sahlawi, who educated at the Firangi Mahal and prescribed a course
called the Dars-i-Nizami which combined traditional studies with modern and laid emphasis on logic.The
education system under the rule of Akbar adopted an inclusive approach with the monarch favoring
additional courses: medicine, agriculture, geography, and texts from other languages
and religions, such as Patanjali’s work in Sanskrit. The traditional science in this period was
influenced by the ideas of Aristotle, Bhāskara II, Charaka and Ibn Sina. This inclusive approach was not uncommon in
Mughal India. The more conservative monarch Aurangzeb also
favored teaching of subjects which could be applied to administration. The Mughals, in fact, adopted a liberal approach
to sciences and as contact with Persia increased the more intolerant Ottoman school of manqul
education came to be gradually substituted by the more relaxed maqul school.The Middle
Ages also saw the rise of private tuition in India as state failed to invest in public
education system. A tutor, or Riyazi, was an educated professional
who could earn a suitable living by performing tasks such as creating calendars or generating
revenue estimates for nobility. Another trend in this era is the mobility
among professions, exemplified by Qaim Khan, a prince famous for his mastery in crafting
leather shoes and forging cannons.===Traditional Schools===
Prior to the British era, education in India commenced under the supervision of a guru
in traditional schools called gurukuls. The gurukuls were supported by public donation
and were one of the earliest forms of public school offices. However these Gurukuls catered only to the
Upper castes of the Indian society and the overwhelming masses were denied any formal
education. Before the introduction of British education,
indigenous education was given higher importance from early time to colonial era. In every Indian village which has retained
anything of its form.the rudiments of knowledge are sought to be imparted, there is not a
child, except those of the outcasts (who form no part of the community), who is not able
to read, to write, to cipher; in the last branch of learning, they are confessedly most
proficient. According to an 1823-6 survey in the Madras
Presidency, 11,758 schools, and 740 centers for higher education were identified in the
Presidency, and with the exception of a few European missionary schools were funded and
managed at a community level. The number of students was recorded as 161,667,
with 157,644 boys, and 4,023 girls, or approximately 1 in 6 boys of school-age, which was better
than the 1 in 8 boys identified by a similar exercise in the Bombay Presidency. According to the Adam’s enquiry, around
1835 there existed approximately 100,000 village schools in the Bengal Presidency, offering
an education to 13.2% of boys.. Though the standard of instruction was criticized
as rudimentary, well below European standards, and cultivating little more than memory. After the introduction of British education,
the numbers of these indigenous education institutes decreased drastically.. In the Punjab, Dr Leitner, the Principal of
the Oriental College and Government College, Lahore, estimated that in 1854-1855 there
were at least 30 thousand schools, and assuming 13 pupils per school the total number of pupils
was approximately four hundred thousand, in the region.==Colonial Era==
The Jesuits introduced India to both the European college system and the printing of books,
through founding Saint Paul’s College, Goa in 1542. The French traveler François Pyrard de Laval,
who visited Goa c. 1608, described the College of St Paul, praising the variety of the subjects
taught there free of charge. Like many other European travelers who visited
the College, he recorded that at this time it had 3,000 students, from all the missions
of Asia. Its Library was one of the biggest in Asia,
and the first printing press was mounted there.===British India===As a result of decades of lobbying by the
likes of William Wilberforce, and Charles Grant, the 1813 renewal of East India Company’s
charter carried a duty to educate, and assist previously excluded Christian missionaries
to educate the population, in addition to the Company’s corporate activities. The Company’s officers were divided as to
how to implement this imposed duty, with the orientalists, who believed that education
should happen in Indian languages (of which they favoured classical or court languages
like Sanskrit or Persian), while the utilitarians (also called anglicists) like Lord William
Bentinck, and Thomas Macaulay, strongly believed that traditional India had nothing to teach
regarding modern skills; the best education for them would happen in English. Macaulay called for an educational system
that would create a class of anglicised Indians who would serve as cultural intermediaries
between the British and the Indians. British education became solidified into India
as missionary schools were established during the 1820s. Macaulay succeeded in replacing Persian with
English, as the administrative language, the use of English as the medium of instruction,
and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers, through the English Education
Act 1835. He was inspired by utilitarian ideas and called
for “useful learning.”In 1854 the Wood’s despatch to the then Governor General Dalhousie stipulated
a number of reforms be made to the Companies Education system, in British India. The effectiveness of the measures stipulated
in the Wood’s despatch were subsequently reviewed and a number of subsequent changes made following
the publication of William Hunter’s Report of the Indian Education Commission 1882, in
1883===Universities===
India established a dense educational network (very largely for males) with a Western curriculum
based on instruction in English. To further advance their careers many ambitious
upper class men with money, including Gandhi, Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah went to England,
especially to obtain a legal education at the Inns of Court. By 1890 some 60,000 Indians had matriculated,
chiefly in the liberal arts or law. About a third entered public administration,
and another third became lawyers. The result was a very well educated professional
state bureaucracy. By 1887 of 21,000 mid-level civil service
appointments, 45% were held by Hindus, 7% by Muslims, 19% by Eurasians (one European
parent and one Indian), and 29% by Europeans. Of the 1000 top -level positions, almost all
were held by Britons, typically with an Oxbridge degree. The Raj, often working with local philanthropists,
opened 186 colleges and universities. Starting with 600 students scattered across
4 universities and 67 colleges in 1882, the system expanded rapidly. More exactly, there never was a “system” under
the Raj, as each state acted independently and funded schools for Indians from mostly
private sources. By 1901 there were 5 universities and 145
colleges, with 18,000 students (almost all male). The curriculum was Western. By 1922 most schools were under the control
of elected provincial authorities, with little role for the national government. In 1922 there were 14 universities and 167
colleges, with 46,000 students.In 1947 21 universities and 496 colleges were in operation. Universities at first did no teaching or research;
they only conducted examinations and gave out degrees.The Madras Medical College opened
in 1835, and admitted women so that they could treat the female population who traditionally
shied away from medical treatments under qualified male professionals. The concept of educated women among medical
professionals gained popularity during the late 19th century and by 1894, the Women’s
Christian Medical College, an exclusive medical school for women, was established in Ludhiana
in Punjab.The British established the Government College University in Lahore, of present-day
Pakistan in 1864. The institution was initially affiliated with
the University of Calcutta for examination. The prestigious University of the Punjab,
also in Lahore, was the fourth university established by the colonials in South Asia,
in the year 1882. Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, founded
in 1875, was the first modern institution of higher education for Muslims in India. By 1920 it became The Aligarh Muslim University
and was the leading intellectual center of Muslim political activity. The original goals were to train Muslims for
British service and prepare an elite that would attend universities in Britain. After 1920 it became a centre of political
activism. Before 1939, the faculty and students supported
an all-India nationalist movement. However, when the Second World War began political
sentiment shifted toward demands for a Muslim separatist movement. The intellectual support it provided proved
significant in the success of Jinnah and the Muslim League.Amongst the Universities founded
in the period are the: University of Bombay 1857, University of Calcutta 1857, University
of Madras 1857, University of the Punjab 1882, University of Mysore 1916, Patna University
1917, Osmania University 1918, Rangoon University 1920, University of Lucknow 1921, University
of Dhaka 1921, University of Delhi 1922, Nagpur University 1923, Andhra University 1926, Agra
University 1927, Annamalai University 1929, University of Kerala 1937, Utkal University
1943, Panjab University 1947, University of Rajputana 1947===Engineering===
The East India Company in 1806 set up Haileybury College in England to train administrators. In India, there were four colleges of civil
engineering; the first was Thomason College(Now IIT Roorkee), founded in 1847. The second was Bengal Engineering College
(now Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, IIEST). Their role was to provide civil engineers
for the Indian Public Works Department. Both in Britain and in India, the administration
and management of science, technical and engineering education was undertaken by officers from
the Royal Engineers and the Indian Army equivalent, (commonly referred to as sapper officers). This trend in civil/military relationships
continued with the establishment of the Royal Indian Engineering College (also known as
Cooper’s Hill College) in 1870, specifically to train civil engineers in England for duties
with the Indian Public Works Department. he Indian Public Works Department, although
technically a civilian organisation, relied on military engineers until 1947 and after.Growing
awareness for the need of technical education in India gave rise to establishment of institutions
such as the Indian Institute of Science, established by philanthropist Jamshetji Tata in 1909. By the 1930s India had 10 institutions offering
engineering courses. However, with the advent of the Second World
War in 1939 the “War Technicians Training Scheme” under Ernest Bevin was initiated,
thereby laying the foundation of modern technical education in India. Later, planned development of scientific education
under Ardeshir Dalal was initiated in 1944.===Criticism===
According to Indian National Congress President C. Sankaran Nair, 1919, Minute of dissent,
British government restricted indigenous education:Efforts were then made by the Government to confine
higher education and secondary education leading to higher education to boys in affluent, circumstances. This again was done not in the interests of
sound education but for political reasons. Rules were made calculated to restrict the
diffusion of education generally and among the poorer boys in particular. Conditions for recognition for “grants” —stiff
and various—were laid down and enforced, and the non-fulfilment of any one of these
conditions was liable to be followed by serious consequences. Fees were raised to a degree which considering
the circumstances of the classes that resort to schools, were abnormal. When it was objected that the minimum fee
would be a great hardship to poor students the answer was—such students had no business
to receive that kind of education. Managers of private schools who remitted fees
in whole or in part were penalized by reduced grants-in-aid.Many schools were against the
high fee but those who accepted it were given grants by British government. Along with fixed fee there was fix timetable
, printed books etc. Students had to attend regular classes which
was a problem for students belonging to peasant families. These rules had undoubtedly the effect of
checking the great expansion of education that would have taken place. This is the real explanation of the very unsatisfactory
character of the nature and progress of secondary education and it will never be remedied till
we are prepared either to give education to the boys ourselves or to make sufficient grants
to the private schools to enable them to be staffed with competent teachers. We are at present not prepared to do either. English education, according to this policy,
is to be confined to the well-to-do classes.They, it was believed, would give no trouble to
Government. For this purpose, the old system of education
under which a pupil could prosecute his studies from the lowest to the highest class was altered. Frykenberg examines the 1784 to 1854 period
to argue that education helped integrate the diverse elements Indian society, thereby creating
a new common bond from among conflicting loyalties. The native elite demanded modern education. The University of Madras, founded in 1857,
became the single most important recruiting ground for generations of ever more highly
trained officials. This exclusive and select leadership was almost
entirely “clean-caste” and mainly Brahman. It held sway in both the imperial administration
and within princely governments to the south. The position of this mandarin class was never
seriously challenged until well into the twentieth century.Ellis argues that historians of Indian
education have generally confined their arguments to very narrow themes linked to colonial dominance
and education as a means of control, resistance, and dialogue. Ellis emphasizes the need to evaluate the
education actually experienced by most Indian children, which was outside the classroom. Public education expenditures varied dramatically
across regions with the western and southern provinces spending three to four times as
much as the eastern provinces. The reason involved historical differences
in land taxes. However the rates of attendance and literacy
were not nearly as skewed.====Bihar and Bengal Villages====
Jha argues that local schools for pre-adolescent children were in a flourishing state in thousands
of villages of Bihar and Bengal until the early decades of the nineteenth century. They were village institutions, maintained
by village elders with local funds, where their children (from all caste clusters and
communities) could, if the father wished, receive useful skills. However, the British policies in respect of
education and land control adversely affected both the village structure and the village
institutions of secular education. The British legal system and the rise of caste
consciousness since the second half of the nineteenth century made it worse. Gradually, village as the base of secular
identity and solidarity became too weak to create and maintain its own institution by
the end of the nineteenth century and the traditional system decayed.====Science====Kumar argues the British rule during the 19th
century did not take adequate measures to help develop Western science and technology
in India and instead focused more on arts and humanities. Till 1899 only the University of Bombay offered
a separate degree in sciences. In 1899 B.Sc and M.Sc. courses were also supported
by the University of Calcutta. By the late 19th century India had lagged
behind in Western science and technology and related education. However, the nobility and aristocracy in India
largely continued to encourage the development of sciences and technical education, both
traditional and western.While some science related subjects were not allowed in the government
curriculum in the 1850s the private institutions could also not follow science courses due
to lack of funds required to establish laboratories etc. The fees for scientific education under the
British rule were also high. The salary that one would get in the colonial
administration was meager and made the prospect of attaining higher education bleak since
the native population was not employed for high positions in the colonial setup. Even the natives who did manage to attain
higher education faced issues of discrimination in terms of wages and privileges.Kumar goes
on to argue that the British detachment towards the study of Western science in India is that
England itself was gradually outpaced in science and technology by European rival Germany and
a fast-growing United States so the prospects of the British Raj adopting a world class
science policy towards its colonies increasingly decreased. However, Deepak Kumar notes the British turn
to professional education during the 1860s and the French initiatives at raising awareness
on science and technology in French colonies.==See also==
List of colonial universities in British India==Notes

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